This week's national Veterans Day celebration will feature parades, free giveaways, and a break from school, but many service members will still be lacking benefits they need to survive.
Wednesday, November 11 was set aside to honor U.S. service members, but many of our veterans are forced to go without proper health care, good paying jobs, quality education, and disability benefits.
In honor of the nation's veterans, WalletHub compared the nation's largest 100 cities to determine the best place for veterans to settle after their service to our country.
William & Mary Law School Professor Aniela K. Szymanski told WalletHub that every service member finds it difficult to transition from military to civilian life.
"Many veterans are merely being prescribed medications instead of getting the counseling and coping mechanisms that they really need to address their conditions. Unemployment continues to be a major challenge for veterans. VA must ensure that veterans obtain timely access to high quality medical care."
Irvine, California, ranked highest as the best place for veterans to live and California scored five of the top 12 cities for service members, while Florida and Indiana both had two cities in the bottom 10.
The study examined 18 components including job availability, pay growth, veteran employment rate, available medical care, number of VA hospitals, and educational opportunities.
The city of Irvine had the lowest veteran unemployment in the country, the highest job growth, and the smallest number of veterans living in poverty. While much of California scored well in the veteran index, San Francisco faired poorly with 28 times as many homeless veterans as Virginia.
For Americans looking for a way to show their support for American veterans, WalMart suggests turning one outside light bulb green. Project Greenlight A Vet is a way for citizens to visibly show their support for our veterans even if they're out of uniform.
Everyone is encouraged to take a picture of their green outside light bulb, post it on social media and share it with the hashtag #greenlightavet.Dr. Mike Haynie, executive director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families, told KMA Land the success or difficulty of life after the armed forces had a lot to do with the initial transition.
"I think we under-estimate the challenge of making that transition from military to civilian life. More than 250,000 service members will make that transition this year and each year over the next five years. When they make that transition, they will leave behind those personal and professional networks of support that they've built while in the military."The entire list of cities and their rankings.
Top 12 cities for veterans
Irvine, CAScottsdale, AZRaleigh, NCOrlando, FLGilbert, AZSan Diego, CAEl Paso, TXSacramento, CAAustin, TXLubbock, TXBakersfield, CAChula Vista, CA
Worst 10 cities for veterans
Lexington-Fayette, KYIndianapolis, INMemphis, TNNorth Las Vegas, NVFort Wayne, INMiami, FLBoston, MAHialeah, FLNewark, NJDetroit, MI
For those veterans looking for some free giveaways this Wednesday, November 11, try Denny's for a free Grand Slam breakfast. Starbucks will be giving away tall coffees while IHOP is offering free red, white and blue pancakes and Ruby Tuesday is giving away appetizers to current and former service members.
Other retailers offering freebies for service members include Applebee's, BJ's California Pizza Kitchen, Chili's, Hooters and Olive Garden.
Remember to honor our current and past U.S. service members this Veterans Day, Wednesday Nov. 11.[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]